How Local Beauty Colleges Compare to National Schools

students at school


Although national chains and local beauty schools offer similar programs, there are several differences in the experience they offer students. We’ll explore what students should know about national chains vs. local schools, what they should look for in cosmetology programs, and how the beauty industry judges the schools students graduate from, whether they become beauty professionals in esthetics, hair styling, or makeup.

What can beauty schools offer students? 

The beauty industry is shaped by creative leaders working in all aspects of beauty. Beauty specialists reinventing styles that become trendy in the beauty industry likely hail from working at beauty brands or salons. Reinvention is the driving force that makes people working in cosmetology influential, and the foundation for creating and experimenting begins with beauty school training.

When aspiring beauty professionals have beauty school training, they build on skills in problem-solving, customer service, and beauty application processes. Students attending schools specializing in cosmetology can start building a beauty community and working with like-minded creatives.

Under the guidance of a supportive and experienced instructor, students’ skills are nurtured. Students will learn to develop a work ethic to succeed in their cosmetology careers at school.

getting a manicure

Studio Afterglow

What to look for in a cosmetology school 

Every cosmetology school has something to offer, but a few essential components of a good school include having kind, patient, supportive instructors, a good curriculum, and access to facilities. Touring the campus will help form your opinion on whether a school is right for you. Touring the campus with a trusted friend or family member will put you at ease. You can meet the instructors and speak with the students.

When touring a school, you may witness a classroom environment and how instructors and students interact. Here is a checklist of items to look for in a classroom or salon environment:

  • Do students understand the cosmetology fundamentals?
  • Does the instructor demonstrate a step-by-step application process?
  • Are the student stations in a sanitary environment in a nail care salon?
  • Are students learning technical or business skills in the class or salon?
  • How do the educational standards measure with other courses?
  • Do instructors supervise students at the student salon?
  • Do instructors assist students in the classroom and salon?
  • Are the students getting applicable hands-on experience?
  • Does the educational experience seem promising?
  • Do students nearing graduation have a grasp on advanced techniques?

These are essential traits to look for when touring a campus and are the building blocks for creating an autonomous, successful beauty professional. When speaking to an advisor, ask about the graduation rates, if the school offers financial assistance, and what educational programs are offered. Learn if there is a salon on campus and if students are allowed to build clients at the campus salon. Many schools restrict students from advertising their services at salons. However, some beauty colleges, like Evergreen, encourage students to begin networking. Plus, on-campus salons will prepare students to work in beauty salons and get a real-world education in cosmetology. 

Other factors students should consider are whether the school is supported by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences (NACCAS), the proximity of their residence to the school, and if the school has multiple exceptional testimonials from alumni.

Do all schools offer financial aid and student loans 

Most schools offer financial assistance to students who qualify. Students can choose between financial aid, student loans, either subsidized or unsubsidized, grants they don’t have to pay back, direct loans, or opt to make monthly payments to pay for tuition.

Speak to a financial counselor about the best options for your financial situation. A counselor can inform you on which options will help you minimize debt while covering the cost of tuition so students can graduate on time.

Attending a national beauty institute

National beauty school chains have schools throughout the states. Some of the most popular chains started formulating products before launching beauty colleges. Paul Mitchell Schools was founded in 2000 and now has 100 schools nationally, but they first advertised the brand with products.

The Aveda Institute is known for its holistic product formulation approach and has 62 schools nationwide. Paul Mitchell and Aveda are two of the most widely recognized schools that both manufacture their own products.

Other popular chains include:

  • Empire Beauty School
  • Pivot Point Academy
  • The Sassoon Academy
  • Xenon International Academy

The benefits of studying with a local beauty college vs. a national chain 

One of the valued traits of local businesses and beauty colleges is that they are family-owned. There is an intimate and unique environment that is hard to culminate in nationwide chains like the ones that exist in local beauty colleges. With locally owned beauty colleges, connections with alumni are solid, the teachers and admin have been with the college for years, and students receive individual attention, mentored by the staff, faculty, and owners.

The experience of a small beauty college with multiple operations and schools throughout the state is unparalleled by the experience students get with national chains. Students who graduate from smaller beauty colleges find that resourcefulness and creativity fuelled their creative pursuits. Whatever you learn will be tailored to the state board regulations. Students will get a good education if the school is certified by the NACCAS.

What programs does Evergreen Beauty College offer 

Evergreen Beauty College offers nail technology, cosmetology, makeup artistry, esthetics, and barbering programs. We also provide an instructor program and teach students how to attain a successful beauty career by becoming beauty instructors.

Evergreen students learn how to be sanitary, efficient nail technicians and makeup artists. The career opportunities are promising for Evergreen graduates. 

About Evergreen Beauty College 

Evergreen is a family-owned business, and each family member is invested in the school and students’ success. Our founders and staff build confidence in each of our students.

They understand that every student has dreams of their own and infuse the belief that everyone can make a difference, realize their creative visions, or become a business owner.

Schedule a virtual or in-person tour at any of our campuses. You can complete the online form or call us at (425) 336-5120 to schedule a time to tour the campus. Our staff is always standing by to answer your questions and assist when enrolling or coordinating a time to meet with a financial counselor.

FAQ: Pros of local beauty schools vs. national chains

Which is the best place to study cosmetology?

Evergreen Beauty College offers a learning environment where creativity thrives, and the studies are tailored to each student’s needs. If students are interested in specializing in barbering, nail technology, hair care, or esthetics, we offer programs beyond cosmetology so students can focus on their concentration, including:

  • Barber program
  • Cosmetology program
  • Nail tech program
  • Esthetics program
  • Instructor training

Our teacher training course allows students with specialized skills to learn how to interact with students, review and demonstrate course material and techniques, and articulate guidelines to students.

What do I wish I knew before going to cosmetology school?

Many students are reluctant to follow their dreams for a variety of reasons. Either because they don’t believe in themselves, they have imposter syndrome, lack the skills and talent to succeed, or don’t know where to begin. If you can relate, then you’re not alone. Many people in every profession feel this way. The first step is scheduling a tour to see if the campus and the work inspire you. Evergreen Beauty College prides itself on being accountable to students and showing them they belong.

School is an incubator for creativity and learning. You will be given the tools to succeed and get hands-on practice guided by professionals until you understand how to achieve complex techniques.

Before you go to cosmetology school, get in the mindset that everyone is a beginner and rooting for you. It will take commitment and hard work, but each student can succeed with the staff and instructors.

In what state do cosmetologists make the most money?

The highest-paying state for hairdressers is Washington State. Stylists can earn between $45,000- $55,000 in Washington. According to Glass Door, the highest salary for a licensed cosmetologist in Washington State is $111,212 per year in August 2023.

Cosmetologists can earn a reasonable salary to cover the cost of living and variable expenses. The best way to build your income is to be reliable, sanitary, and friendly, stay up-to-date with trends, and market your services. Many cosmetologists sell their services through SEO-optimized websites or share content online. Using social media can help beauty professionals attract many new clients.

Learn how to set up a Google business account. Once you retain your clients, you may start incrementally charging more per appointment and building your income. Washington State is a creative place and offers terrific opportunities for cosmetologists to find career opportunities and earn a decent living.

Frank Trieu
Vice President of Business Development & Industry Relations

Frank Trieu is a cosmetology industry leader, and despite his accomplishments and accolades, he still prioritizes students on the Evergreen campus. Through building relationships within the community and local salons, retail stores, and spas, he helps facilitate job placements for aspiring beauty professionals using his expansive network.

Happy Evergreen Beauty College Students


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4 months ago

That is Great

Last edited 4 months ago by JackE